Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pincushions, Pouches, and Projects

I'm pretty sure my last few days have been hijacked...I really don't know where the hours have gone...it has been one of those weeks where I'm busy from early morning to late night (early morning) and I'm not really sure what has been accomplished. I had the best intentions to do several blog posts this week, but just didn't make it back as soon as planned. I did manage to get multiple birthday gifts sent out on time in the last week...I finished charting and started stitching my 2015 Komen exclusive cross stitch fundraising design...I finished several custom orders and I have several in the works...and if all goes well, two boxes of needlework finishing that have arrived will get worked on in the next several days. Plus, I got the BRD website updated (which proved to be a time-consuming but gratifying experience - I continue to learn and impress myself).

Today I am sharing a very sweet cross stitch pincushion I stitched and finished (my own design - details coming soon), along with a coordinating patchwork zipper pouch. It is another cheerful finish that brought me joy along the way! We all know I love to finish needlework smalls...and making the quilted patchwork pouch was a true treat. I have had plans to make these pretty little zippered bags for my Etsy shop for some time - I just had to perfect my pattern and the sizes (and make time to work on one).





I also had a request for some red, white and blue freestanding lace star ornaments...so I did some test embroideries (short video below) and finished several sets...three of which have sold, but I have one set left (and I might make several more) to list in my Etsy Shop. The multi-colored ornaments didn't stitch out as well as the solid-colored (which look much more professional and look the same on both sides)....so I decided to stick to one color per ornament...



I am now working on a couple custom quilt pieces (a table runner and a table topper) which are my own designs, as well...here are the beautiful fabrics I am playing with...

Red, White & Free Collection by Sandy Gervais for Moda
along with a Navy Bella Suede by P&B Textiles.

Village Green Collection by Carolyn Gavin for P&B Textiles (a favorite of mine!)
along with a yellow gingham and a solid Kona Cotton (Papaya) by Robert Kauffman.

 I have been getting in some great training walks this week too - except for today, as it has been pouring rain - but Miss Schatzi and I have been getting in around 7-miles each evening. I was SUPER excited to see one of my favorite trails is now open again after being closed for almost two years (it runs under the interstate and they have been working on the bridge for a couple years) - it allows me to walk 10 to 15-miles all on trail (yay!). Here is an evening photo I snapped a couple nights ago as we walked around the West Des Moines Campus Pond...and a rainy photo I shot this evening...



I guess after writing all that, I have accomplished a little something this week...and the next week and a half I have a lot planned, so I need to be productive. Tonight I am headed to my stitching nest to work on my special Komen fundraising design - I can't wait to get it stitched so I can share it with you...

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Short Monday Note

I would like to thank everyone for their patience while the Blue Ribbon Designs website was down for maintenance. As of this evening, I have it back up and functioning and all the links are working once again. I am running a few last minute tests, but everything should be running properly. As always, if you experience any difficulties with the website, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail or use the "contact us" form - your feedback is valuable to me and ensures things are working properly. Now that the updates are completed, I can get back to work on new designs and patterns...yay! I have some fun new finishes to share, so I will be back soon with a creative update...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Short Saturday Note

Just a quick note this morning....
Maintenance is being performed on the Blue Ribbon Designs website - the home page is available, but many of the links are down for service - I appreciate your patience. A notification will be posted when everything is back up and running. During this time, if you have questions or need assistance, the website contact page is available or you may leave a comment here, send an e-mail, or reach me on Facebook. If you are looking to order charts or specialty items, they are all available in my Etsy Shop, as well. Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour:
Giveaway Winners

Hello friends, fans, and followers! I am thrilled so many of you stopped by for the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour...and many of you left a comment for a chance to win a copy of Volume 11. I truly had fun reading about all your interesting hobbies and creative endeavors - it was so interesting to find out I have so much in common with so many of you. It is pretty clear that handwork, gardening, reading, and baking go hand and hand with quilting...and I loved reading that some of you are fellow walkers...and there were quite a few pet lovers, as well....and many of you listed some very unique projects. Thank you for sharing your favorite things with me - your comments made my heart happy (and I apologize I didn't have time to respond to each and every one of them)! I wish I had a 100+ copies of the magazine to giveaway, so I could send each of you a copy...but alas, I only have three...and the random generator chose the following:

samtaylorcjsmimi
Oh my - I just love your block and the pillow is fabulous!!! I have many hobbies and some that I no longer pursue! I've done macrame`, counted cross stitch, stained glass, crochet, knit, sewing, quilting.....my sister and I even had a ceramic business for a number of years!
Thanks so much for the chance to win :)

Loris
Lovely block! Wow! You own some handy fabric cutters! I would love to have an Accuquilt someday. In the meantime, quilting is my main hobby with a strong dose of walking with my dogs to keep me healthy and happy.
Thank you for joining in the Quiltmaker blog hop.

Ann McCay
Absolutely stunning! I'd actually try it, IF I were taking a class with you! :)
Over the years I've tried many hobbies and past-times. Now I quilt and do some paper crafting - scrapping and card making. If I'm not doing those two things then I'm doing my genealogy research or reading. So many ancestors, so many books! Thanks for this opportunity.

My block - "Sunshine and Daisies" - Block #1051 - Page 37

I have sent each of the recipients an e-mail with details...

Today, I will leave you with a fun slideshow featuring all 100 Blocks from Volume 11 - I am just thrilled to be a part of this special issue - there are so many wonderful quilt blocks...and I guarantee you will see something that catches your eye...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Content Heart

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has stopped by for a visit during the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour...and even though I haven't had the time to respond to each and every comment, please know I have been reading and enjoying all of them - you are a talented and busy bunch! There are still a couple hours left to enter my giveaway (it ends tonight at midnight...and winners will be announced tomorrow) - please see the previous post for my stop on the Quiltmaker's Blog Tour and all the details...then stop back on Friday to see the giveaway recipients...

Now, let's move on to today's samplings...
Sometimes it takes a big letdown and some major hurt feelings to put things into perspective...and that is exactly what happened to me this week. It has been a tough week of eye-opening moments, hurt feelings, and realizations...but as usual, I decided to remain focused, take it for what it is, and work on some pieces that allow me to be creative and make me happy (I'm doing my best to live by the following rule: I can't let my own happiness be dictated by people who don't appreciate/support me or my original works) - it's all good - more life lessons learned. So, I brushed off the tears and got to work on a few "cheerful" projects that will be loved and appreciated. Today, I thought I would share my finish of "Stitch Until You're Content", a long OOP chart by Doop Design. This Cross Stitch piece uses several specialty threads, Mill Hill Magnifica Beads, and came with a charm pack (silver scissors charm and silver double heart charm)...it is one of those pieces I started years ago and just got around to finishing. I thought it would be perfect for an inset on a large project bag...so, I went though my fabric stash and found an older Jo Morton fabric that worked well with the colors and headed to my sewing machine. I also decided to  make a smaller coordinating zippered pouch for needlework tools, just for fun!




This project was enjoyable from beginning to end and gave me the attitude adjustment I was craving. Now, I'm cleaning house this week - literally and figuratively - sometimes a fresh, clean start is needed! I finished up a large pile of deadlines earlier this week - some very special and and some very challenging projects - I can't share any of them just yet, but it won't be long.  I also had a couple custom sewing orders this week...and several packages of finishing work arrived...and I am excited to get started on all of it. Plus I have an extra special guest coming for a visit in a couple weeks and I need to prepare...and I am working on some new original designs - both cross stitch and quilting/sewing...I truly need more hours in the day. This next week will be focused on creativity, cleaning, and custom orders (and training walks)...and keeping my heart happy! I have several more fun fishes to share with you, so look for those over the next week...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunshine and Daisies:
Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Greetings friends, fans, and blog hoppers - I am thrilled to be one of the stops on the very first day of Quiltmker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour. This quilty blog hop is celebrating the release of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 11...and to say I am excited to be a part of this special magazine issue and blog tour for the second time would be an understatement - I am such a HUGE fan, collecting the 100 block issues over the years...and I am honored to be in the company of so many extremely talented quilt designers that I admire.

If you are visiting my blog for the first time - welcome! Let me introduce myself...my name is Belinda Karls-Nace and I am a needlework and quilting designer, teacher, and professional finisher by trade (Blue Ribbon Designs). I picked up my first needle at the young age of six (and made my first quilt around the age of eight) and have been designing professionally in the Cross Stitch industry for over 10 years. I am completely obsessed with just about anything created with a needle and thread - and when I am not working on my original cross stitch and counted thread designs, I find sheer enjoyment sewing and quilting...and in the very near future, I will be adding my sewing and quilting patterns to my brand (along with patterns that combine my love of handwork and quilting). I am an enthusiastic AccuQuilt fan, proudly owning all four of their fabric cutters and a wide assortment of cutting dies...and I am lucky enough to do some freelance designing and sample piecing/quilting for them, as well. My blog follows my creative journey - including needlework, sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery...my handcrafted Etsy items...my original designs and patterns...tips and tricks...pretty much anything that inspires me...I hope you enjoy your stay and visit often!

"Sunshine and Daisies" - Block #1051 - Page 37

My original quilt block for Volume 11  is called "Sunshine and Daisies" - it is block #1051 and can be found on page 37. My regular readers know I love to combine traditional piecing with machine appliqué, so creating this cheerful, floral block just came naturally. This entire block is AccuQuilt GO! friendly...and for those of you wanting to take advantage of the cutting dies I used, here is a complete list:
I like to audition my original blocks in multiples, with other traditional blocks, and with solid blocks to make sure they can be versatile...I also like to design blocks that will work well in a number of colorways. This particular block just happens to be a great scrap buster block! I had fun playing with this design in EQ7 (Electric Quilt 7 Software) and creating color variations to show it off...here is how it would look in a few different color schemes and how it would look adding borders for a table topper or wall hanging....


Since this is a 12" finished block, I decided it would make a fun, bright, and  cozy pillow. For a change, I chose to work it up in shades of blue and green, using Robert Kaufman fabrics for the the blues and a fun older Island Batik for the green. I simply added 1" strips (1/2" finished) on all four sides...and then 2" strips (1-1/2" finished) and 2" square (1-1/2" finished) cornerstones on all four sides... and added an envelope back...perfect for a 16" square Pellon pillow form...





Thank you so much for visiting my blog and sharing in my enthusiasm (and for reading this far)...and as a reward, I have a few giveaway opportunities!
  • Quiltmaker Magazine is giving away a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 11 magazine to one of my lucky readers...
  • ...and I have two copies of  Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 11 magazine to give away...
Yep, THREE of my blog readers will receive a copy of the magazine!!


For a chance to win one of these prizes, simply leave me a single comment telling me about the hobbies you enjoy - I would love to hear about your creative endeavors...
To be eligible, you must include your e-mail address or have your e-mail address visible in your profile - international entries are welcome - you must leave a comment, no e-mail entries will be accepted. The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM CST Thursday, May 7, 2015 and the three prize recipients will be announced on Friday, April 8, 2015. No prize substitutions. Good luck...

Make sure you look for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 11, on newsstands tomorrow (Tuesday, May 5th)...it's the issue with the orange band across the top of the cover. To find links to all the other blog tour stops, to read all about the other 99 blocks, and to have the opportunity to win a plethora of fabulous prizes, stop by the Quiltmaker Magazine blog:
http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/


A BIG thank you to Quiltmaker Magazine for including my original block in Volume 11...and thanks to YOU for visiting my blog - I hope you have been inspired and will return again soon! ...and one more thing...be sure to check out my quilt "Kites in Flight" in the May/June issue of Quiltmaker Magazine on newsstands now too...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kites in Flight

Today I am excited to share that I have a quilt design featured in the May/June issue of Quiltmaker Magazine....that's right Blue Ribbon Designs can be found in Quiltmaker Magazine, on newsstands now. My quilt design is called "Kites in Flight"...and although the magazine is calling it a crib quilt, I designed it as a throw or lap quilt. It is a nice manageable size at 48" x 48"...and can be paper-pieced (you can find the kite foundation block included on the magazine pattern sheet) or cut with an AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter - instructions are included in the magazine for both options. When creating the quilt, I used my AccuQuilt GO! Big Fabric Cutter and two cutting dies: GO! Kite-4" Finished (55254) and GO! Strip Cutter-2" (55025 or 55164) (binding only). Each Kite Block unit is 4" square...and four Kite Block units make up one Kite Block. You can find the pattern and all the information on pages 38-40 of the May/June Issue (#163)....the single pattern is also available as digital download. The fun birdie fabrics used for my quilt are from the Sweet Tweets Organic Collection by Pengiun & Fish...along with one AMB Cotton Solid by American Made Brand (AMB-17 Light Lime), both from Clothworks....and Quiltmaker has both a quilt kit and a backing kit available in their Quilt and Sew Shop.



If you plan to use the foundation piecing method, Quiltmaker has posted a video, where Carolyn Beam (Content Director at Quiltmaker) gives you a overview of the block process...


If you plan to use the die-cutting method, AccuQuilt has a wonderful video, showing you how to make the Kite Block using the GO! Kite-4" Finished (55254) cutting die.


I am super excited to have this quilt back at home...most of my quilts are customer orders, commissioned pieces, made to be sold, or gifts...but this one, I am keeping...to me it is special!


Photo Credit: Quiltmaker Magazine


I am hard at work on new cross stitch and quilting designs...and you will see Blue Ribbon Designs in quite a few more publications this year!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Snapshots

Here's just a glimpse at some of the things happening in my world...

My prize package arrived from Pellon...and it is wonderful...thank you to everyone
who voted for my entries in Nancy Zieman's pillow challenge...I can't wait to put
these fun supplies to good use!

I basted, quilted, and binded all four GO! Value Die Sampler Quilts....

....and all four got shipped off to their new home...

I added to my forest that was originally started in 2008...
And A Forest Grew by Rosewood Manor

I picked up these delicate fabrics on a little afternoon trip to the quilt shop
after lunch with my very dear friend...
Ambleside by Brenda Riddle Designs for Moda

The May/June issue of Quiltmaker Magazine arrived...and one of my
quilt designs is featured! More details in my next post...

My "Kites in Flight" quilt made it home after the photo shoot...

Schatzi and I on our favorite trail...

Miss Schatzi before she started to frolic in the lake...

Testing the waters...

Wishing you a joyous weekend, filled with things that make you happy!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tulip Time Table Runner

It's been an insanely busy week...and I will do a "catch-up" post soon, as I have several fun things to share...but today, I am stopping by to let you know that I am a guest blogger over on the AccuQuilt blog. I am sharing some insights on my latest AccuQuilt pattern design...the GO! Tulip Time Table Runner - perfect for those of us who are experiencing "spring fever". This bright and cheerful runner uses fabrics from the Basically Patrick Collection by Patrick Lose for RJR Fabrics.....and combines Broken Sash quilt blocks with machine appliqué. The colorful tulips are cut easily by utilizing the GO! Tulip and GO! Stems & Leaves cutting dies...simply iron your paper-backed fusible web product to your selected fabrics before cutting your shapes and they are ready to fuse in place in a matter of moments. Be sure to visit my guest blog post to read all about this new pattern...and for a limited time, you can download it for FREE.

Find my guest blog post here: http://www.accuquilt.com/blog/new-quilting-pattern-go-tulip-time-table-runner/

Find the GO! Tulip Time Table Runner pattern here: http://www.accuquilt.com/go-tulip-time-table-runner-pattern.html




For now, I am headed out to walk the dogs...then I have some sewing to do...and if I am lucky I will be in my stitching nest this evening. I am nursing an EXTREMELY sore throat, so I am hoping to possibly catch-up on some rest. I'll be back again soon to share several fun things with you...including my latest magazine feature!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Early To Rise

Be sure to stop by the AccuQuilt Blog today, where I am the guest blogger and "dishing" all the details for the new pattern: "GO! Early to Rise Placemats"...these modern rooster and hen placemats are my most recent AccuQuilt pattern design. I always enjoy a creative challenge, so when AccuQuilt asked me to design a pattern featuring the GO! Folk Art Fowl die by Bill Kerr, I immediately started brainstorming ideas...and this set of GO! Early to Rise placemats was born. At first, I thought this die was quite limiting, but once you read my guest blog post, I think you will find it can be used for a plethora of projects - both for the beginner and the more advanced quilter/sewist.  With all the curves in the feathers, the rooster and the hen are the perfect shapes for fine-tuning your machine appliqué skills....and the look can easily go from "country" to "modern" to match your style. Oh...and did I mention you can download the pattern for FREE for a limited time...so go check out my guest blog post and download this fresh, new pattern...and be sure to share a photo of your new table setting with me!


GO! Folk Art Fowl die by Bill Kerr